talked with our friend hope yesterday (for 98 minutes! thank god for unlimited long distance calling!) - i really need it. i have been in the dumps for the past couple of weeks, unable to shake things and even more unable to figure out why. it has all turned my nose into a brand new compulsive behavior that i have had a dickens of a time setting aside.
rarely can i set things aside unless i can understand them. i knew that i hadn't figured out what was driving me to this new obsession and until i did it wouldn't loose it's hold over me. i'm so embarrassed to even type out what it is. isn't that insane? i can talk about being raped here, my sexual addiction and my rock-bottom compulsive overeating behaviors like drinking cake mix while hiding between my counter and fridge - but i just can't seem to own up to the fact that i have been SUCKED into the deep world of role playing games. ugh. there, i said it. i am so embarrassed...
i have been coping by avoiding life by being a kick ass warrior princess in another world. she has little pink pig tails and a lightning bolt strike that takes out the meanest of monsters. her name is flutterbye and i love her. she has become this alter ego that is so productive, capable and needs no one. the purpose of this game is to work with other types of characters to build a team that can work together to overcome challenges. i on the other hand enjoy working alone and solving the story quests and exploring the vast towns, islands and story. it's brilliant, beautifully illustrated and so dang fun.
but i have neglected so very much because of it. i have withdrawn, knowing the whole time i was doing so, slightly veiling my involvement as helping my son to level up, but knowing consciously that it was virtual crack for my wounded soul.
i have talked about it with a few friends, hope being one of them and i tried during the times when i was clear headed enough (and not obsessing with the damn game) to understand what was pushing my nose into it. i wasn't having much luck. that's really the problem when we loose serenity - we need the serenity to figure out why we have lost the serenity we once had - so talking to someone who has serenity yesterday gave me a lot of the clarity and encouragement i so desperately needed. this is why recovery is a community. because sometimes i am strong and helping others, but so many times i am weak and need help myself. bearing each others burdens in the most beautiful way. not solving each other's problems, just sharing our experience, strength and hope - i heard the clarity and serenity in hope's words and knew all that i had traded for the dumb game.
but why? why had i given it away? i knew it was shame. i knew i was loaded with it, but i couldn't understand what it was that had caused it.
i mentioned in the meme that one of my bad habits is replaying social situations to the point of paranoia (not clinical, just your average, garden variety type of paranoia...) :) - in talking with hope i was able to reconstruct an event that gave me the clue to the big ah-ha. we have a small group with about 5 other couples. we pot-luck friday night dinner and share life together afterward. our kids play in the other room and we have really built a safe place to be together.
social interactions and community is difficult for me. i usually over share to create false intimacy, i withdraw and isolate in fear, i judge and feel judged and create a real mess for my introverted self. well this was going well - i had said at the first time we were together how scared i was and how difficult this was for me and it was well received and i had been so good about not oversharing, but being open when it was appropriate. we were really feeling like a community.
i realized when talking with hope that the one night when liam wasn't there i found myself the center of a lot of male attention and i reveled in it - and i finally realized that i had been flirting. nothing overtly sexual, but i was definitely flirting and enjoying the attention.
damn. number 4 on my bad habit list is shaming myself - and jumping ahead of myself on behavior. innocent flirting created a lot of shame in me and i jumped ahead and labeled myself a whore and was convinced that all that i feared about myself was true. i needed to put back on the 65 lbs. i had lost because i was not fit to be in public and community at the size i was now because it/i was just too dangerous...
i never said any of these things out loud or even really acknowledged them, but deep inside i knew that was what i was believing to be reality. my program saved me from myself and i didn't eat myself back into a binge, but i found a NEW AND EXCITING addiction to relieve me from myself and place me smack dab in a world that i could CONTROL. damn.
one of the things hope said yesterday (correct me here if i'm not verbalizing it like you did hope) was that when we are triggered we shouldn't be ashamed, triggers just show us parts of ourselves that aren't healed yet.
the jumping ahead of myself i do had me falling into adultery when all i really did was revel in attention and seek out some more of it. i realized that it wasn't at all sexual (like i had shamed myself into thinking), but just that plain old missing father love that i was looking for. male attention is a gaping wound in my soul and it just felt so very good to have people asking me how i was and really caring about my answer, being interested in my brain and what i had to contribute and not having it be about them, but just me. revelatory.
as i processed all of this with liam this a.m. over breakfast i told him that hope also told me that one day i'd be able to affirm myself in the ways i felt i needed others to affirm me. i told him that i joked with hope and said "when did you get so wise?" - i then said to him that i wanted to go to rehab. was there anyplace that would take such a messy person and help them regain the serenity they had lost? he said maybe there should be a place called "me-hab" - that made us laugh. and then i realized i had that already. i just wasn't taking advantage of it anymore. so i need to spend some time in me-hab today.
like the ah-ha that making empty my friend brought to me, changing the perspective on the triggers - making them clues and red flags for healing, instead of reminders of shame and fears will make all the difference. thus the title of this post - i don't know that i will ever get to that point of being happy to be triggered, but if i can use them as tools, i know that i will definitely be more happy, joyous and free.